With the recent announcement from the President that fall term will be held online (with a few exceptions), the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching will provide a variety of supports and services for Faculty and instructors to leverage now and through the summer to prepare for the transition to an online fall term.
“We have been steadily building our centralized supports and working directly with Deans and Associate Deans to ensure we have an understanding of what supports will be most useful,” said Lori Goff, Director of the MacPherson Institute. “We are building out a range of development resources, such as guidebooks and virtual training sessions, on a wide variety of topics related to online teaching. We also recognize there are distinct differences and unique circumstances within each Faculty. As a result, we are reorganizing our staff to serve on Faculty-Based Teams that will help consult with and support instructors to ensure they have the means to design and develop their online courses for the fall.”
Various supports have been offered since the pandemic began to help with the completion of winter term and to address spring/summer courses. Those supports will continue to be offered and others have been added for the transition to fall term online.
A variety of webinar sessions have been offered throughout the spring and more will be scheduled throughout the summer months. Sessions have included training on tools like WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Avenue to Learn, and PebblePad, as well as topics related to effective online teaching, facilitating online discussions, creating a learner-centred syllabus, and more. Visit the Instructional Continuity – Schedule page for the calendar of upcoming virtual training sessions and to access recordings of past webinars.
Resources and Guides
The MacPherson Institute has developed and will continue to add and iterate on a variety of resources and guidebooks. These can be leveraged while considering the design and development of virtual or online classrooms for fall term including:
Additional resources are being curated and linked on the Instructional Continuity website such as Accessibility in e-Learning, which has been developed by the Equity and Inclusion Office, and the University Library Support for Remote Teaching website, which has been developed by the University Library.
MacPherson Institute staff are available for consultations, which can be organized into topic-based groups, department- or cohort-based sessions, or on an individual basis if necessary. The MacPherson Institute has also restructured its staff into Faculty-Based Teams that will provide additional resources and streamlined supports to each Faculty. Previously, each Faculty was assigned a key contact liaison from the MacPherson Institute who worked directly with Deans, Chairs, Directors and instructors to provide consultation and support. Under this new model key contacts will be supported by additional Faculty-focused staff with varied expertise in order to tailor or customize assistance for their local needs.
Faculty-Based Team key contacts have already been in touch with each Faculty to discuss aspects of the supports available, and they will continue to be accessible throughout the summer months. The full list of the Faculty-Based Team contacts can be found on the MacPherson Institute website.
Course Development Support
Over the past few months the MacPherson Institute has worked directly with Deans and Associate Deans to review and prioritize the development needs with each faculty for certain high-priority courses. The MacPherson Institute can help support student course developers that have been hired within departments and Faculties and for courses that were identified by Deans and Associate Deans as highest priority, they can also provide course development support through several contracted Online Learning Specialists. A plan is underway to determine the development schedule of these prioritized courses and more information will be shared with the faculties over the coming weeks. Instructors can reach out to their Deans and Associate Deans with any questions about this support.